Labour Day Holiday, China
May 1st is international Labour Day and in China there is a public holiday from May 1st to May 5th to celebrate it. For this month’s blog I’ll outline how I spent the holiday.
I had originally planned to travel to a nearby city called Chengde with my girlfriend Sargai. In order to leave Beijing, I first had to apply for my university’s permission (this has been their policy since the Covid-19 pandemic began). The university rejected my request as they believe it is still not safe to travel, so I had no choice but to stay in Beijing. Although I was pretty disappointed, the holiday was still a lot of fun.
On the first day in the afternoon I went to a bar with Sargai. The bar is called Great Leap, it’s a very nice bar located in the Dou Jiao hutong in Nan Luo GuXiang, which one of a small number of old neighbourhoods (hutongs) in Beijing made up of traditional Beijing houses. I really like this bar because it has outdoor seating where you can enjoy the old Beijing atmosphere. We were with another international couple, so we had a lot of common topics to talk about. We had a great afternoon drinking excellent beer.
It was very hot on the second day, such that I didn’t want to leave the house and spent the whole day indoors. In the evening I practiced my Chinese cooking, making red braised pork, which was a success as it tasted quite authentic. On the third day I also stayed at home and read a novel. In the evening I went out to a barbecue restaurant. The restaurant is a Nancheng “lao zi hao” (roughly meaning time honoured brand), famous for making an appearance on tv some time ago. The food was delicious.
On the fourth day I went hiking in the Fragrant Hills with a group of friends. Unlike last time I went to the Fragrant Hills, this time we didn’t walk in the national park, instead taking a ‘wild path’ outside of the park. On this path there were very few people and the views were beautiful. We walked for around five hours in total, it was great fun and a great opportunity to practice my spoken language with Chinese friends. Some friends were picking the flowers of the Chinese Scholartree (also known as the Japanese pagoda tree), which they were going to cook with eggs or noodles. That evening I again cooked Chinese cuisine, this time I tried Mapo Dofu and fried beef with black pepper sauce; my Chinese cooking improved greatly over this holiday.
I spent the last day at home relaxing and reading. It was great to have a holiday and a break from Chinese lessons and homework. I only have half a term left now of my course so hope to continue improving my understanding of the language and culture.